This research study on The Chicago Doctoral Student Cohort Group Advanced Supervision Course Case Study critically explored an understanding of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction’s Chicago Cohort Doctoral Student Group perceptions’ as it related to principles, strategies, skills, and dispositions used in the advanced application of a type of instructional supervision known as Clinical Supervision. Also, the study embraced the use of clinical supervision in Urban Schools related to Induction and Mentoring Programs for Teacher Evaluation, Growth and Development. The principles of a clinical-based method of instructional supervision were adapted to support the doctoral students’ applied field experience associated with the course in the conduct of using this type of supervision style with the teachers they interacted for their professional growth and professional development. Sixteen doctoral students enrolled in the Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) 577 Doctoral Level Graduate Course, Advanced Supervision, Fall Semester, 2006, participated in the research study. Survey questionnaires captured their perceptions at the start of the course as well as after the completion of the course. Without exception, there were increased mean scores over time for each survey item with several being significantly different at the p=.05 level. As well, significant qualitative differences in perceptions were found over time. The findings from the study suggest that the clinical supervision model had a significant impact on the cohort group from a formative teacher evaluation perspective designed to improve teachers’ professional growth, best practices, self evaluation and to improve student learning. In addition, we feel that the Clinical Supervision Model can be viewed as a core curricular component for the professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions as goals for Teacher Induction and Mentoring Programs as well as for Teacher and Administrator Education.
Induction and Mentoring of Urban School Mentors and Instructional Supervisors:
The Chicago Doctoral Student Cohort Group Advanced Supervision Course Case Study
One style of instructional supervision at the advanced level for teacher evaluation that promotes teacher growth is known as clinical supervision. Clinical supervision, according to Goldhammer (1969), suggests a “face-to-face relationship between teacher and supervisor and a focus on the teacher’s actual behavior in the classroom“. He stated, “Given close observation, detailed observational data, face-to-face interaction between the supervisor and teacher, and an intensity of focus that binds the two together in an intimate professional relationship, the meaning of ‘clinical’ is pretty well filled out.” Hence, a primary mission of clinical supervision is the professional development of teachers, with an emphasis on enhancing teacher’s classroom performance related to student learning. As well, a secondary benefit of using clinical supervision effectively is that it can also increase student achievement as suggested by Darling-Hammond (2003) where she pointed out that high-quality teaching provides a direct correlation to student success. Moreover, research has consistently demonstrated that capable teachers have the largest impact on student learning (Wilson, Floden, & Ferrni-Mundy, 2001; Laczko-Kerr & Berliner, 2003). The concept of clinical supervision was developed at Sanford University and Harvard University in the early 60’s, along with techniques for using videotape technology and other forms of feedback in the training of preservice and inservice teachers. Individuals in that project who influenced the ideas, research, and application of clinical supervision, microteaching and other new innovations in teacher education were Robert Bush, Dwight Allen, Fred McDonald, Norman Boyan, Horace Aubertine, Bill Johnson, Jim Olivero, Frank MacGraw, Al Robertson, and Jimmy Fortune (Acheson & Gall, 2003).
Therefore, two major questions frame this research study. First, to what extent does the use of clinical supervision for instructional settings promote teacher growth associated with the induction and other phases of teacher development? Second, to what extent does training in clinical supervision advance the growth of mentors, for example, lead teachers, cooperating teachers, university field supervisors, principals, who use clinical supervision as part of their duties and responsibilities as instructional supervisors in P-16 settings?
Principles of Clinical Supervision: An Overview
Clinical supervision is an interactive method of instructional supervision focusing on the professional development of a teacher. Clinical supervision is built upon the premise that professional teaching qualities are best nurtured with the assistance of an experienced professional who can help the teacher identify, analyze, and improve classroom performance. This is done in a three-phase cycle of teacher-supervisor interactions that is continuous and progressive. The three phases are 1) a planning conference, 2) a classroom observation and analysis, and 3) a feedback conference (Acheson and Gall, 1992, 2003). Clinical Supervision is a cyclical process with three major phases:
The first phase in the cycle is for the teacher and clinical supervisor to participate in a planning conference (also known as a pre-conference) in which the teacher identifies one or more areas of concern or desires for improvement in her/his teaching in which the supervisor helps translate those concerns into a plan for analyzing and improving instruction. The main vehicle for this planning to be implemented during the pre-conference is to usually review the teacher’s most current version of a lesson (or set of lessons ) to be taught which the supervisor will be able to observe while the forthcoming lesson will be taught. During the pre-conference, the teacher verbalizes the intentions of the forthcoming lesson essentially by rehearsing what will take place in the classroom setting. The clinical supervisor may pose key clinically-based reflective questions related to what the teacher wants to occur during the lesson and may even ask the teacher to role-play possible student decision making processes, interactions and responses. Throughout the pre-conference, concerns about the lesson development or possible teaching and student learning strategies may be raised by either person. By the end of the pre-conference, the teacher and supervisor should mutually reach an agreement about which specific teaching behaviors and actions related to student learning outcomes, instructional tasks, learning activities, and so forth, will be focused on by the teacher and how the supervisor will collect observational data in these regards, intentionally or not throughout the forthcoming lesson.
Phase two ideally occurs soon afterward in the cycle where the supervisor observes the teacher carrying out the lesson to her/his students recording as accurately as possible what transpires throughout the lesson. It is most beneficial, if possible, to videotape the lesson or at least audio-tape it so that actual teaching and student learning incidents may be reviewed later by the teacher and supervisor. The supervisor will generally also collect authentic data, take notes and record questions or reactions related to specific events that may not be readily captured on videotape. In order to have useful and authentic data available for the feedback conference (also known as the post-conference), Acheson and Gall (1992, 2003) recommend the use of several objective and valid data collecting methods. Some commonly used data recording methods include teacher rating scales, selective verbatim, salient behavior pattern analysis, targeted interaction and assessment analysis, observational records based on seating arrangements, and anecdotal records.
In the final phase of the cycle, the teacher and supervisor participate in a clinically-based feedback conference (also known as a post-conference) after each of them hopefully have had an opportunity, if possible, to view the videotaped lesson and/or listen to the audiotape prior to the post-conference. Together, they clinically reflect on and discuss the data collected from the lesson observation. Instead of critiquing the lesson from a summatively driven evaluation perspective, the clinical supervisor uses a formative evaluation perspective to encourage the teacher to make her/his own inferences about the effectiveness of her/his teaching in relationship to student learning. To facilitate teacher self analysis and reflection, if it is not forthcoming, the supervisor may pose focusing questions such as, for example, “What were your intentions at this point in the lesson? In what ways were your intentions realized throughout the various aspects of the lesson? What were the ways do you feel that the lesson was successful?” and may suggest viewing various segments of the videotaped lesson together for verification of any perceptions. Such close scrutiny allows the teacher to identify, become conscious of, and analyze successful patterns to be reinforced in future lessons, or to work on changing unsuccessful patterns before they become a reoccurring problem in future lessons. The feedback conference (post-conference) may be viewed as a potential source of information for teacher development and planning as a teacher with supervisor assistance identifies areas that may need improvement or continued practice agreeing to collect further observational data from a formative evaluation perspective.
The general goal of clinical supervision, that is, to rationally improve and build upon a teacher’s classroom instruction, can be analyzed into more specific goals as follows:
- To provide Teachers with Objective Feedback on the Current State of Their Instruction.
- To Diagnose and Solve Instructional Problems.
- To Help Teachers Develop Skills in Using Instructional Strategies.
- To Evaluate Teachers for Promotion, Tenure, or Other Decisions.
- To Help Teachers Develop a Positive Attitude about Continuous Professional Development (Acheson & Gall, 2003).
We hypothesize that the principles of effective Induction and Mentoring align themselves positively with the principles of effective Clinical Supervision. In this context, any individual responsible for the professional development of teachers can incorporate the techniques for effective clinical supervision. Ross (1990) indicated that methods instructors, practicum supervisors, supervisors of student teaching, cooperating teachers, school administrators, curriculum specialists, and staff development specialists guide the professional development of teachers to varying degrees. We believe that all of these educators can make use of clinical supervision strategies and techniques (Acheson & Gall, 2003).
Clinical Supervision appears to have developed as a folk theory about teacher education. Folk theories are held by groups that share a common culture or other characteristics (Acheson & Gall, 2003). Among formal theories developed by social scientists, there is one that is relevant to understanding and justifying the use of effective clinical supervision. This theory is known as reflective practice. Schon and Argyris developed a theory about professionals in various fields, including education, as to how they conduct their work (Schon, 1987). They observed that problems of practice are often “messy” and not always solvable by only applying scientific principles or specific research findings. Skillful practitioners, they believe, deal with these problems by also engaging in “reflection-in-practice.” Drawing on the theoretical work of Schon and others, Ross defines reflection as “A way of thinking about educational matters that involves the ability to make rational choices and to assume responsibility for those choices” (Zeichner, & Liston, 1987). Schon & Argyris state that this type of thinking is known as “espoused theories” and “theories-in-use.” An espoused theory consists of the explanation that professionals give to others when asked to justify their actions to others and themselves. For example, a teacher might say, I changed my teaching activities frequently during a lesson because my students have short attention spans. In this instance, activity change and attention span are key concepts in the theory that this teacher espouses to explain and justify her/his teaching practice. In contrast, a theory-in-use approach is the theory that actual governs a professional’s practice. This is an important distinction, accordingly to Schon and Argyris as they stated:
…. The theory that actually governs [a professional] actions is his theory-in-use, which may or may not be compatible with his espoused theory; furthermore the individual may or may not be aware of the incompatibility of the two theories (Garman, 1986).
Purpose of the Study
This study was conducted to critically explore, understand, draw lessons from and gain a deeper understanding of the Chicago Doctoral Student Cohort Group’s perceptions as it relates to various subject matter content areas taught in an advanced supervision course related to advanced training as well as experience with a specific type of supervision model known as clinical supervision. The principles of a clinical-based method of supervision (Acheson and Gall, 1992, 2003) were adapted to support each doctoral student’s field experience, as an emerging effective clinical supervisor that occurred during the latter part of the course, in the conduct of using this type of supervision when interacting with a teacher for her/his professional growth. This is one of the key curricular components for the course. Sixteen doctoral students who were enrolled in C&I 577, Advanced Supervision, Fall Semester, 2006, voluntarily agreed to be involved in this research study. The physical school site for delivering this course was Eli Whitney Elementary School on the Westside of Chicago, IL. The researchers were known to the participants but were not seen as being intrusive. In no way was the participant’s involvement in this research study related to any aspect of them completing the doctoral course in advanced supervision. The researchers of this study did not look at any data collection and results of the completed surveys until final grades were posted for the course. Survey questionnaires captured their perceptions of instructional supervision at the start of the course as well as shortly after the completion of the course. Hence, two major questions framed this research study. First, to what extent does the use of clinical supervision for instructional settings promote teacher growth associated with the induction and other phases of teacher development? Second, to what extent does training in clinical supervision advance the growth of mentors, for example, lead teachers, cooperating teachers, university field supervisors, principals, who use clinical supervision as part of their duties and responsibilities as instructional supervisors in P-16 settings?
Brief Review of the Literature
Researchers have conducted studies of the effect of clinical supervision on various outcomes. For example, Jerich (1989), Using a Clinical Supervision Model for Micro-Teaching Experiences, found the extent to which the instructional supervisory style used by secondary education preservice teacher education clinical supervisors during microteaching lessons contributed to the preservice teachers’ understanding of various teacher-centered and student-centered teaching strategies. As a result in this setting, the use of clinical supervision was found to be quite effective and had a positive impact of the teacher growth of preservice teachers over time during their completion of a twelve week sustained teaching practice time period. The preservice teachers reported that they and their clinical supervisors work together to establish goals, consider alternatives, and establish mutually decided upon strategies for teacher growth. As well, Robinson (1998), Diversifying Supervision for Maximum Professional Growth: Is a Well-Supervised a Satisfied Teacher?, examined the relationship between various characteristics of the clinical supervision model and teacher job satisfaction. The first part of the paper described teacher job satisfaction and looked at the history and meaning of clinical supervision. The paper discussed four studies, two of which outlined work models of teacher empowerment and two which described successful models that included clinical supervision practices. The four studies described in the paper exemplified a movement to develop a supervision model that would improve teaching practice and indirectly improve teachers’ job satisfaction. This article suggested that if administrators can modify clinical supervision practices to increase teacher job satisfaction then more satisfied teachers would continue to improve their instructional practices. In turn, the result of such a system would provide an exemplary learning environment in which students could more easily achieve academic success.
Furthermore, Hopkins (1995), Clinical Supervision: A Neo-progressive Approach, described how neoprogressive characteristics of clinical supervision possibilities can be incorporated into the supervision process to enhance teaching and learning through improvements of instruction within the classroom setting. The author described the characteristics and stages of the neoprogressive approach to clinical supervision, explaining why it offered potential for the school reform movement. As well, Thompson (1997), Integrating the Mentorship Factor into Clinical Supervision Model, argued that clinical supervision is an ongoing series of professional development cycles through which preservice and beginning teachers move from being apprentices at induction and probationary levels to being members of peer evaluation teams and self-reflective practitioners. These two supervisory cycles involved (1) a team teaching approach with peer clinical supervision and self-reflection; and (2) the supervisor taking the lead in individualized clinical situations. Hence, clinical supervision comes full circle when the teacher who has completed earlier cycles as a preservice teacher apprentice then becomes the master teacher which ultimately engages in reflective issues-centered teaching practice (Jerich, 1996). Moreover, Glickman and Bey concluded that clinical supervision has positive effects on teachers and students (Blumberg, 1980).
Specifically, for example, clinical supervision has been found to improve:
- Teacher’s ability to reflect on their instruction and engage in higher-order thinking.
- Collegiality, openness, and communications between teacher and between teachers, supervisors, and principal.
- Retention of teachers in the profession, while also reducing teacher anxiety and burnout.
- Teachers’ sense of autonomy, personal efficacy, and self-growth.
- Teachers’ attitude toward the supervisory process.
- Student achievement and attitudes.
Since the early 1990’s, the induction phase of teacher development has become an increasingly popular strategy for school districts across the country as they seek solutions for high attrition rate among new teachers who are new to the profession (Kapadia, Coca and Easton, 2007). The availability of formal induction programs and their structures vary among states and local school districts (Feiman-Nemser, 2001; Hargraeves, 1994; Moir, Strong, & Gless, 2003, Ingersoll & Kralik, 2003). For example, a 2007 study by the University of Chicago’s Consortium on Chicago School Research recently reported that many new Chicago Public School (CPS) teachers get no help as a professional teacher in an urban setting. More than one in four new Chicago Public School teachers reported that they didn’t complete any mandatory training program designed to bolster rookie teachers. In addition, only eight percent to 13 percent of novice CPS teachers reported getting the kind of intensive help from mentors and the school that seems to make a major difference in whether such rookies plan to stay in teaching and remain in their schools (Rossi, 2007). As well, in Illinois public schools the attrition rate among new teachers can be as high as 40 percent after only five years on the job (Illinois Educational Research Council, 2002).
Numerous studies document the value of teacher induction programs which describe the benefits of the programs including not only reduced attrition rates among teachers but also improved teaching capabilities (Kortman, 2006). For example, mentoring from a teacher in the same field or grade coupled with common planning time and/or collaboration with colleagues on instructional issues appears to have a positive impact on retention rates (Ingersoll & Smith, 2004). When mentoring and induction systems are used in combination with other induction supports, for example, clinical supervision, it can be an even more effective means of improving beginning [and veteran] teachers’ experiences and prospects for remaining in the profession.
Assumptions and Limitations of the Study
This study consisted of sixteen doctoral students enrolled in an advanced supervision course during the 2006 Fall semester. Since volunteers were relied on to participate in the study the sample is not representative of all Chicago Public School teachers. Hence, the size of the sample was also a limitation for the study. Furthermore, the small size of the sample may be seen as precluding a sense of generalizability of the results beyond this setting (Babad, Bernieri & Rosenthal, 1987, Kunes, 1991).
Reliability and Validity Issues
The primary strategy used in this research study to ensure external validity was the
provision of detailed description so that everyone interested in transferability will have a solid framework for comparison (Merriam 1988). Three techniques to ensure reliability were employed in this study. First, the researchers provided a detailed account for the focus of the study and the participant’s position and the basis for their selection and the context from which data will be gathered (LeCompte & Goetz, 1984). Second, triangulation of the data collection and analysis was used to strengthened reliability as well as internal validity (Merriam, 1988). Finally, data collection and analysis strategies were reported in detail in order to provide a clear and accurate picture of the methods used in this study.
This study used quantitative and qualitative analyses to examine the perceptions of the participants. A survey consisting of 20 structured questions and one open-ended question was administered to critically explore, understand, draw lessons from and gain a deeper understanding of the Chicago Cohort Doctoral Student Group perceptions’ as it relates to principles, strategies, skills, and dispositions used in the advanced application of a type of instructional supervision known as Clinical Supervision. Participants signed a consent form volunteering to participate. Anonymity was guaranteed for all participants as both the pre and post survey forms contained no identifying information that would reveal the identity of the participants in this study.
A descriptive research design and appropriate research pedagogical methods were used to analyze the participant’s responses to the survey items for the study. Likert scaled questions were constructed to collect specific information regarding the participant’s perceptions of factors related to clinical supervision. Volgt, 2006, reported that scaled questions are considered to be more accurate than other questions formats. In the quantitative portion of the research study, Likert scale responses: (1= not at all; 2=to some extent; 3=moderately so; 4= reasonably so; 5=very much so) were used to analyze the data using the Statistical Package for Social Science. An item reliability measure known as Cronbach’s alpha yielded a .762 level of confidence in the instrument. The descriptive analysis used measures of central tendency and t-test methodology to analyze the results of various survey questions. Using the qualitative content analysis research method, the participant’s responses to survey questions 16-20 revealed themes determined to be related to the areas of professional development, best practices and self reflection.
Without exception, the Chicago Doctoral Student Cohort Group specifically indicated that the completion of the advanced supervision course which centered on the concept of clinical supervision contributed to their overall growth as instructional supervisors, mentors and teachers (see Table One).
Quantitative findings. Question one, that is, “Do you possess the knowledge, skill, and disposition to be an effective instructional supervisor?” asked the doctoral students to judge their level of expertise as an effective instructional supervisor based upon their previous training and experiences prior to taking the advanced supervision course. It is to be noted that two members of the cohort group were principals in their buildings and nine were lead teachers in the buildings providing feedback to beginning and other teachers at their school sites; while the remaining doctoral students were classroom teachers aspiring to become lead teachers in their school buildings.
Table One: Survey Items 1-15 Pre and Post-test Survey Findings and Significance levels
1 = not at all 2=to some extent 3=moderately so 4=reasonably so 5=very much so
|Survey Question||Pre-test Mean
|Do you possess the knowledge, skill, and disposition to be an effective instructional supervisor?||3.41
|A goal for instructional supervision is to improve teacher moral and job satisfaction?||2.41
|Instructional supervision should be used to summatively evaluate the instructional competence of a teacher?||2.42
|To what extent is it possible to eliminate any power differential present between the instructional supervisor and teacher?||2.91
|Do you think clinical supervision should be used to evaluate a teacher’s instructional competence?||2.90
|The central focus of instructional supervision is to formatively evaluate the instructional effectiveness of a teacher?||3.58
|To what extent do you believe that an instructional supervisor should be the change agent of a teacher’s instructional effectiveness in the classroom?||3.10
|Do you believe that an instructional supervisor should maintain a hierarchical position of power when evaluating the effectiveness of the teacher in the classroom?||1.50
|Do you think that the direct observation of a teacher by an instructional supervisor in the classroom setting contributes to the professional growth of the teacher?||3.00
|To what extent do you believe teachers benefit from having an instructional supervisor observe their teaching practice in the classroom setting as part of their professional growth in the teaching profession?||3.75
|A key purpose of instructional supervision is to provide feedback regarding acceptable standards of teaching performance in the classroom setting?||3.91
|A major purpose of instructional supervision is to provide high quality feedback to the teacher on a frequent basis?||3.08
|Do you believe that the use of instructional supervision contributes to a teacher’s success when dealing with student learning outcomes in the classroom setting?||3.50
|Do you believe that an instructional supervisor should facilitate professional growth while evaluating a teacher’s performance in the classroom setting?||2.25
|To what extent should clinical supervision be used in instructional settings?||3.00
* indicates a significant difference at the p=.05 level.
Their first judgment as a group at the beginning of the course yielded a mean score of 3.41 on a five point scale, (1=low and 5=high), that is, their expertise at that time was at the “mid-moderate” to a “reasonable so” level of experience as an effective instructional supervisor. Shortly after completing the course, they reported a mean score of 4.22, indicating that their level of expertise dramatically increased to the level of “reasonable so” to “very much so” which is a significant increased at the p=.05. Question two, that is, “A goal for instructional supervision is to improve teacher moral and job satisfaction?” produced a similar result to that one question one with a pre-test mean of 2.42 to that of a post-test mean score of 4.10 (p>.009). Their overall view on instructional supervision based upon the infusion of the clinical supervision model for instructional settings taught in the course resulted in a positive gain in belief that teacher moral and job satisfaction for teachers can be positively influenced by the ways in which supervisory practice is used in a school setting. Question three, that is, “Instructional supervision should be used to summatively evaluate the instructional competence of a teacher?” was seen as being an element in the overall scheme of evaluating the effectiveness of a teacher.
Question four, that is, “To what extent is it possible to eliminate any power differential present between the instructional supervisor and teacher?” was viewed in a positive way by the doctoral student cohort group. From the Likert scale points, that is, an indication of “moderately so” to the “mid-reasonably so” level indicated a positive shift, that is, that the use of clinical supervision should be used when a supervisor interacts with a teacher during the evaluation process for instructional settings. Question five, that is, “Do you think clinical supervision should be used to evaluate a teacher’s instructional competence?” resulted in the doctoral cohort group indicating that clinical supervision should be used, for example, from “moderately so” to “mid-reasonably so” when evaluating a teacher’s overall performance. Question six, that is, “The central focus of instructional supervision is to formatively evaluate the instructional effectiveness of a teacher?” was seen as being an important element in the overall scheme of evaluating the effectiveness of a teacher.
Question seven, that is, “To what extent do you believe that an instructional supervisor should be the change agent of a teacher’s instructional effectiveness in the classroom?” indicated that the cohort group strongly believes that the instructional supervisor using clinical supervision should be an integral part of teacher growth over time. Question eight, that is, “Do you believe that an instructional supervisor should maintain a hierarchical position of power when evaluating the effectiveness of the teacher in the classroom?” yielded a slight increase in perception from a pre-test mean of 1.50 to a post-test mean of 1.75. Question nine, that is, “Do you think that the direct observation of a teacher by an instructional supervisor in the classroom setting contributes to the professional growth of the teacher?” shows a dramatic positive change (pre-test mean of 3.0 to a post-test mean of 4.7 (p>.006 significance level) in the way the doctoral cohort group views the power of using clinical supervision to contribute to the professional growth of a teacher.
Question ten, that is, “To what extent do you believe teachers benefit from having an instructional supervisor observe their teaching practice in the classroom setting as part of their professional growth in the teaching profession?” also shows a dramatic positive change (pre-test mean of 3.75 to a post-test mean of 4.7 (p>.009 significance level) in the way the doctoral cohort group views the power of using clinical supervision to contribute to the professional growth of a teacher. Question eleven, that is, “A key purpose of instructional supervision is to provide feedback regarding acceptable standards of teaching performance in the classroom setting?” is viewed by the doctoral cohort group as being a key purpose of instructional supervision (pre-test score of 3.91 and a post-test score of 4.5). Question twelve, that is, “A major purpose of instructional supervision is to provide high quality feedback to the teacher on a frequent basis?” shows a significant change (pre-test score of 3.08 and post-test score of 4.17; p>.05 significance level) in the way the doctoral group views the importance of using clinical supervision as an integral part of instructional supervision to provide high quality feedback to a teacher on a frequent basis.
Question thirteen, that is, “Do you believe that the use of instructional supervision contributes to a teacher’s success when dealing with student learning outcomes in the classroom setting?” also shows a significant change (pre-test score of 3.5 and post-test score of 4.67; p>.004 significance level) in the way the doctoral group views the importance of using clinical supervision as an integral part of instructional supervision to provide high quality feedback to a teacher when dealing with student learning outcomes in the classroom. Question fourteen, that is, “Do you believe that an instructional supervisor should facilitate professional growth while evaluating a teacher’s performance in the classroom setting?” yielded a dramatic positive change in perceptions of the doctoral student group from a pre-test mean of 2.25 indicating “to some extent” to a significant increase at the p>.014 level for the post-test mean of 3.83 indicating “reasonably so” based upon the outcomes of the doctoral level course in advanced supervision. Finally, question fifteen, that is, “To what extent should clinical supervision be used in instructional settings?” indicated that the doctoral group views (pre-test mean of 3.0 to a post-test mean of 4.58; p>.005) the use of clinical supervision for instructional settings to be a very positive model for promoting teacher growth over time.
Qualitative findings. To advance the doctoral student’s interpretative thoughts and perceptions qualitatively, we constructed six open ended survey questions (see tables two and three). Table Two represents survey items 16-20. Coding was used as a part of the process of analysis and allowed the researchers a way to simplify and reduce the data. The coding system assisted the researchers in identifying meaningful data and set the stage for interpretation and drawing conclusions (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). The findings from the last opened question of the survey instrument are in Table Three.
Table Two: Survey Items 16-20. Subjects’ impressions, opinions, and/or beliefs.
|Open ended Survey Questions||Before the C&I 577 Course*||After the C&I 577 Course*|
|What do you consider to be the benefits, if any, for using instructional supervision to evaluate a teacher’s instructional practices in the classroom setting?||best practices (6)
higher student achievement (2)
it allows a teacher to find their areas of strength and weakness (2)
|improving teaching practices (5)
professional development (3)
teachers get to see themselves objectively (1)
|What do you consider be the three most important characteristics for teacher growth, if any, when instructional supervision is used to evaluate a teacher’s instructional practices?||effective classroom management (7)
identify the need for professional growth (3)
willingness to open up and expose oneself to change for the betterment (2)
self assessment/personal growth (3)
professional development (1)
|What were the benefits for your professional growth, if any, when you were evaluated by an instructional supervisor (e.g., principal, lead teacher, department head) in your classroom?||Organizational skills (2)
it helped me to see the areas that I needed the most work (2)
professional development (2)
|realistic look at my teaching practices (2)
able to see student’s learning weak points/strengths (1)
working with a seasoned teacher in my grade (1)
|What do you believe were the three most negative aspects, if any, regarding the ways in which you were evaluated in the classroom by an instructional supervisor?||no feedback (1)
no observation (1)
no growth opportunities (2)
|no feedback (1)
checklist- no fun, I hate it (2)
shortness of time (1)
|What do you believe were the three most positive aspects, if any, regarding the ways in which you are evaluated in the classroom by an instructional supervisor?||listening and sharing (4)
teacher/supervisor critique (2)
positive feedback (2)
listening and sharing (2)
*multiple responses of similar kind are categorized into theses, for example, best practices.
Across the nation, school systems are taking increasing steps to support their beginning and veteran teachers. As well, knowing what the needs and aspirations of all teachers are on a professional continuum and the specific contexts in which they work will help school systems create comprehensive induction, mentoring and ongoing professional development programs. These programs in turn, it is
hoped, will better deliver mentoring and other support systems for teachers. Hence, these types of comprehensive and systematic efforts will enable the current and future generations of teachers to have good professional experiences, continue in the profession and hopefully stay in the same school as a teacher.
Table Three: Subjects’ impressions, opinions, and/or beliefs.
|Open ended Survey Question||Before the C&I 577 Course||After the C&I 577 Course|
|If you wish, what other comments and/or remarks would you like to make below regarding the roles and responsibilities of an instructional supervisor in the context of teacher evaluation in the classroom setting and professional growth of a teacher?||“Supervisors should be trained in evaluating teachers!”
“An instructional supervisor observes teachers; classrooms to fulfill his/her duty as a supervisor, but he/she does not necessarily contribute to the developmental growth of a teacher.”
“The supervisor needs to be in tune with what is going on in the classroom, the children and to create an atmosphere or warmth and a feeling of comfort to elicit the best possible response.”
|“More individual [clinical] supervision should be used.”
“The clinical supervision model is an excellent basis for professional development. I have used it for some years now.”
“Who has the time to do quality clinical supervision, there should be a three-tiered system so veteran, novice and struggling teachers would have different expectations.”
“I wish I had this [clinical supervision model] when I student taught!”
In this research study, a group of highly qualified and experienced teachers, some of which who are lead teachers, building supervisors and principals in the Chicago Public Schools and elsewhere in the greater Chicago area, have shared their perceptions of professional growth as emerging effective clinical
supervisors. As well, the doctoral students have shared their perceptions about the use of clinical supervision contributing to the knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary to have as administrators and lead teachers who routinely work with other teachers in their schools. The participants in this study firmly believe that by using various effective clinical supervision strategies teachers are then provided with constructive feedback as an effective style of formative assessment and teacher evaluation. When considering the two major questions that framed this research study, it was interesting to discover, for example, (a) that a consistent pattern emerged as to extent to which the use of clinical supervision for instructional settings promoted teacher growth associated with the induction and other phases of teacher development, and (b) the ways in which their training in clinical supervision throughout the course advanced their growth as teachers and mentors, for example, lead teachers, cooperating teachers, university field supervisors, principals, when implementing the use of clinical supervision as part of their duties and responsibilities as instructional supervisors in P-16 school settings.
Based upon completing the doctoral level graduate course, C&I 577, Advanced Supervision, the Chicago Doctoral Student Cohort Group shared various highlights about their own professional growth as emerging clinical supervisors that included, but were not limited to, the following principles: First, they have a highly increased awareness of the complexities of working with teachers to foster improved teacher moral and job satisfaction. Second, they realized the vast importance of eliminating any power differential between any instructional supervisor (and/or mentor) and teacher as the use of effective clinical supervision plays an integral role in this aspect of teacher empowerment, growth and development. Third, they indicated the importance of using effective clinical supervision as a means to provide substantiated data and analyses for constructive and highly valued feedback to a teacher. Fourth, they now believe even more strongly than before that a teacher’s success when dealing with student learning and their outcomes can be strengthened by using effective clinical supervision as part of a formative assessment and teacher evaluation system. Fifth, their beliefs shifted from thinking that effective teacher evaluation is grounded by the summative evaluation principles still used by many instructional supervisors in schools to that of thinking that the improvement of teaching practices of teachers should be grounded by using principles of formative evaluation. Sixth, their beliefs also shifted from thinking that teacher growth does not only center on effective classroom management techniques to that of a broader perspective that teacher growth should be theoretically grounded in the principles of reflection, self-assessment and ongoing professional growth as a teacher. Seventh, they see the use of effective clinical supervision in the context of teacher evaluation as providing professional growth opportunities for teachers to realistically look at their teaching practices while at the same time assessing their student’s learning and their outcomes linked to learning standards. Eighth, they echoed the need for and dramatic increased use of an effective clinical supervision model as an excellent basis for professional development in various stages of a teacher’s professional development, for example, the induction years as well as far beyond the first five years of a teacher’s career, in a systematic way with novice, veteran and struggling teachers.
Given the findings of this research study we believe that the clinical supervision model can be seen as a phenomenon designed to (a) improve classroom teachers’ performance by collecting objective data from the classroom, and (b) analyzing the data and developing new strategies to enhance a teacher’s professional development in connection with their students’ achievement. As well, and more importantly, effective pre and post-conference consultation are integral components of the overall clinical supervision process. Furthermore, we believe that school based mentors should be fully trained in the clinical supervision model who work with beginning teachers during the induction years of the professional development as teachers. Ingersoll and Kralik (2004) substantiated the promise in the use of induction and mentoring as a means of reducing high teacher turnover. We see that both phenomena as being beneficial in three areas: 1) higher teacher retention; 2) effective teaching practice; and 3) meaningful and significant student achievement. Moreover, we are proposing that the effective use of the effective clinical supervision model that the Chicago doctoral student cohort group learned and experienced by completing the advanced supervision course and the applied field experience associated with the course become a foundational and core component for the professional knowledge, skills and dispositions as goals for Teacher Induction and Mentoring Programs as well as for Teacher and Administrator Education Programs.
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- Mr. Tonee Buwana is a doctoral student in residence completing his Doctor of Education in Education degree in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Mr. Buwana is a former Chicago Public School student and teacher. He has academic expertise and experiences in African American and African History and International Curriculum Policy Analysis/Teacher Education in South Africa.
- Dr. Ken Jerich is Professor of Teacher Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. His academic expertise and experiences include the areas of P-20 teacher education, instructional and clinical supervision, music education, teacher evaluation and program evaluation.
ADVANCED SUPERVISION CASE STUDY SURVEY – FALL SEMESTER 2006
CHICAGO DOCTORAL STUDENT COHORT GROUP
Please circle one answer for each quantitative item 1-16 below. Then go on to complete the rest of the survey items.
Rating Scale for Items 1 to 15
1 – not at all 2 = to some extent 3 = moderately so 4 = reasonably so 5 = very much so
|1.||Do you possess the knowledge, skill, and disposition to be an effective instructional supervisor?||1 2 3 4 5|
|2.||A goal for instructional supervision is to improve teacher moral and job satisfaction?||1 2 3 4 5|
|3.||Instructional supervision should be used to summatively evaluate the instructional competence of a teacher?||1 2 3 4 5|
|4.||To what extent is it possible to eliminate any power differential present between the instructional supervisor and teacher?||1 2 3 4 5|
|5.||Do you think clinical supervision should be used to evaluate a teacher’s instructional competence?||1 2 3 4 5|
|6.||The central focus of instructional supervision is to formatively evaluate the instructional effectiveness of a teacher?||1 2 3 4 5|
|7.||To what extent do you believe that an instructional supervisor should be the change agent of a teacher’s instructional effectiveness in the classroom?||1 2 3 4 5|
|8.||Do you believe that an instructional supervisor should maintain a hierarchical position of power when evaluating the effectiveness of the teacher in the classroom?||1 2 3 4 5|
|9.||Do you think that the direct observation of a teacher by an instructional supervisor in the classroom setting contributes to the professional growth of the teacher?||1 2 3 4 5|
|10.||To what extent do you believe teachers benefit from having an instructional supervisor observe their teaching practice in the classroom setting as part of their professional growth in the teaching profession?||1 2 3 4 5|
|11.||A key purpose of instructional supervision is to provide feedback regarding acceptable standards of teaching performance in the classroom setting?||1 2 3 4 5|
|12.||A major purpose of instructional supervision is to provide high quality feedback to the teacher on a frequent basis?||1 2 3 4 5|
|13.||Do you believe that the use of instructional supervision contributes to a teacher’s success when dealing with student learning outcomes in the classroom setting?||1 2 3 4 5|
|14.||Do you believe that an instructional supervisor should facilitate professional growth while evaluating a teacher’s performance in the classroom setting?||1 2 3 4 5|
|15||To what extent should clinical supervision be used in instructional settings?||1 2 3 4 5|
|For questions 16 to 20, please provide your impressions, opinions and/or beliefs for each item below:|
|16.||What do you consider to be the benefits, if any, for using instructional supervision to evaluate a teacher’s instructional practices in the classroom setting?|
|17.||What do you consider to be the three most important characteristics for teacher growth, if any, when instructional supervision is used to evaluate a teacher’s instructional practices?|
|18.||What were the benefits for your professional growth, if any, when you were evaluated by an instructional supervisor (e.g., principal, lead teacher, department head) in your classroom?|
|19.||What do you believe were the three most negative aspects, if any, regarding the ways in which you were evaluated in the classroom by an instructional supervisor?|
|20.||What do you believe were the three most positive aspects, if any, regarding the ways in which you are evaluated in the classroom by an instructional supervisor?|
If you wish, what other comments and/or remarks would you like to make below regarding the roles and responsibilities of an instructional supervisor in the context of teacher evaluation in the classroom setting and professional growth of a teacher?